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Aldar acquires Daman House in Abu Dhabi

Aldar Properties has bought the Abu Dhabi office tower that is home to the national insurance company Daman as part of a­ Dh3 billion investment plan.

Abu Dhabi’s largest listed property developer acquired Daman House in Abu Dhabi’s Capital Centre district close to the city’s exhibition centre as part of a plan to boost the money it receives in rents.

Aldar declined to disclose the seller or purchase price. The building has been fully leased on a long-term contract to Daman since December 2013.

It is understood that the deal was worth Dh330 million.

According to JLL, prime rents in Abu Dhabi stand at about Dh1,850 per square metre, which would equate to an annual rent at the 18-storey Daman House of around Dh42.5 million and a yield of about 12.8 per cent.

Aldar said that it had so far spent a total of Dh900m on a programme of three investments aimed at boosting recurring revenues which also included a planned Dh410m extension of Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain and the Dh160m construction of the Al Mamoura School in Abu Dhabi, announced last November.

Aldar said that all three assets would be funded from its own existing cash resources.

The purchases are the first to be made as part of a Dh3 billion investment programme that it is implementing to drive growth within its recurring revenue business.

It said that the new purchases would will contribute about Dh90m to its net operating income once the assets had been fully “stabilised”.

The company said it hopes to boost its net operating income to Dh2.2bn by 2020.

“The acquisition fits perfectly with our strategy of increasing our recurring revenue base and demonstrates our ability to take advantage of value accretive opportunities when they arise,” said the Aldar chief executive Mohamed Al Mubarak. “The acquisition underscores our ability to successfully execute against our strategy to grow recurring revenues.”

“If you are looking for a solid investment in Abu Dhabi, buying a prime office block in an established area which is already let to a blue chip tenant is not a bad move,” said Ian Albert, regional director for the Middle East at Colliers International.

In November Aldar reported a 9.4 per cent increase in third-quarter profit, thanks in part to a near-doubling in recurring revenues owing to the opening of the government-backed developer’s 235,000 sq metre Yas Mall.

Aldar’s recurring revenues portfolio also includes 4,800 rented apartments, and thousands of square metres of upmarket offices, hotels and schools.

Aldar, which merged with Abu Dhabi rival Sorouh in 2013 in a government backed union, has also succeeded in paying down what had been crippling debts. In November it reported that finance costs for the third quarter fell to Dh181.8 million, down from Dh312.9m a year earlier.

“We feel that after paying down debt for so many quarters, Aldar’s debt level is currently too low for the balance sheet to be efficient,” said Sanyalak Manibhandu, a research manager at NBAD Securities in November. “The company can change that by borrowing more from banks to finance more new projects, they could pay higher dividends, they could buy back shares or they could split the company like Emaar did.”

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